Page:The Sclavonic Provinces of the Ottoman Empire.djvu/17

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begun reading to the women, and, having found that the language was such as they commonly used, the words came home to them familiarly as never in the Church-Slavonic version. They had sat up till late, poring over the book, and now the pope was going forth into the villages to read it out to all the people.

I have now endeavoured to describe to you, by the light of these books of travels, the general state of the Christian provinces of Turkey; but I must still say a little on the subject of Montenegro, which is an extraordinary subject. The history is briefly this:—A portion of the Slav inhabitants of the northern part of Albania, near the Adriatic Sea, were conquered by the Turks in the fifteenth century; but a number of them were determined not to accede to any of the three alternatives which were usually given—that is to say, either to be put to death, or to be ransomed by paying tribute, or to become Mussulmans. Instead of submitting to any of these conditions, they journeyed to a remarkable group of mountains, very high and very difficult of access. That was in 1485, and they remained under the prince who led them, and under his son, until 1516, when a very curious circumstance happened, and a state of things occurred that I believe was entirely without example. In 1516 their sovereign retired because he wanted an easier life; because you must bear in mind that for the sake of their religion and their freedom this people abandoned everything else that could make life happy and desirable. They abandoned property; they went up to an inhospitable climate, with very limited means of subsistence, to maintain a desperate struggle against the whole power of the Ottoman race. They carried on the struggle with very little aid and almost without intermission for 400 years, and this remarkable people are there still, and it is to be observed in the course of the last six months that while the Turks boasted that they had beaten the Servians and 3,000 or 4,000 Russian volunteers who aided them, there has not been a Russian volunteer with the Montenegrins. Theirs is a population of 120,000 or 140,000, and in every case they have beaten the Turks. (Cheers.) The Montenegrins have had nothing to fight with, for the most part, except old-fashioned weapons which no other nation would look at. They had no cavalry, no artillery, and if ever they had cannon brought into action, those cannon they had taken from the Turks. With all these disadvantages, and in spite of the vast numbers that were brought against them, on every occasion they have beaten the Turkish forces, and at this moment they are blockading one of the Turkish towns called Nistics, about which there was a question raised in connection with the armistice. In 1516, when their lay sovereign retired, what do you think he did? He made the government of the country over to the bishop. A succession of bishops governed that country, and led the